Category Archive: News

Pike/Pine in 2019: Big win thanks to your advocacy!

Thanks to your advocacy, the Mayor and SDOT staff have committed to building safe, protected bike lanes on Pike/Pine connecting downtown and Capitol Hill by 2019!

Please take a moment to thank the Mayor now.

A group of people holding signs in support of the Basic Bike Network gathered around a speaker at a microphone.

This is a significant win in a prolonged campaign for the Basic Bike Network. We have gathered to raise our voices time and again—via email petitions, in City Council chambers, and at powerful rallies—and we are being heard. 

That’s why we are so excited that the Mayor and SDOT have committed to building the crucial east-west spine piece of the Basic Bike Network in 2019, with additional upgrades to follow in the coming years. 

A comparison between current, unsafe conditions at the intersection of Pine and Boren and a happy image of a protected bike lane filled with happy bikers on a rainy day.

Please take a moment to thank the Mayor for committing to building protected bike lanes on Pike/Pine from Downtown to Capitol Hill in 2019! Let’s keep the momentum for the Basic Bike Network going!

Thank you for your continued advocacy – you are making a difference!

Safer Crossings for Madison Park Business District

Story by Bob Edmiston, Madison Park Greenways.

In the summer of 2013, a Madison Park resident was struck by a driver while walking across East Madison Street in a marked crosswalk, in broad daylight—and was critically injured. The community organized and formally asked the City of Seattle to make it safer to cross the street in our little neighborhood business district.

The community’s focus was on a complicated 6-way intersection where East Madison Street, McGilvra Blvd East and East Garfield Street meet. Many of the crossing distances there ranged from 50-100 feet across, exposing people on foot to hazardous speeding traffic. Parking near and within the intersection was blocking critical lines of sight between people walking and people driving. The combination of these compounding design flaws are thought to have factored into the tragic collision of 2013. Fixing these hazards became the objective of our Madison Park Greenways group.

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Five years later, after many grant applications, pitches, community design meetings and countless volunteer hours, the project is now nearly complete. The results are excellent. The adjoining streets have been squared up, entrances narrowed, curb lines moved in order to reduce pedestrian crossing distances and sight lines have been improved. Landscaping is being restored in a way that will permanently keep sight lines clear.

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By eliminating the worst safety issues of this very complicated intersection, this project has made Madison Park’s central intersection feel safer to cross on foot and safer to drive through. Since this intersection is the primary crossing for children who attend McGilvra Elementary School, the improved intersection opens up the possibility of walking or biking to school to more of the community.

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The man who was critically injured has recovered has been anticipating completion of this project. It was his desire that the crossing between Wells Fargo Bank and Starbucks be finally made safe for those who live, visit and work here.

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This project would not have been possible without a sustained multi-year direct collaboration effort between the Madison Park Community Council, the Madison Park Business Association, Madison Park Greenways and the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and Seattle Department of Transportation staff. They have all done outstanding work. We plan on holding a ribbon cutting celebration soon.

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West Seattleites Organize for a “Multi-Modal” (Walk, Bike, Transit) Delridge Corridor

Photos and story by Don Brubeck, West Seattle Bike Connections.

Doug is a scientist and lover of beer. He lives in Delridge, and he wants a safe and comfortable way to ride with his wife and child to White Center. Doug was a pro bike racer, but he is not comfortable riding with his family on Delridge Way.

Charmaine is a musician and square dance caller. She lives in White Center and wants to be able to bike with her husband and child to Delridge’s library, parks, and community center.

Right now, neither of them has good options, so they organized a ride with other West Seattle Bike Connections members, Gordon Padelford from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Cascade Bicycle Club’s Kelsey Mesher, and three SDOT employees to look into improvements.

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Top priority: a multimodal corridor

West Seattle Bike Connections’ top priority for 2018 is the Delridge RapidRide H multimodal corridor project. This is the opportunity to make the street safe for people walking and biking, including getting to and from the new RapidRide stops. This is one of the Move Seattle Levy projects that WSBC members worked hard to pass, because of the positive impact it can have for the traditionally underserved neighborhoods of the Delridge Corridor. Delridge is the flattest, most direct route through the valley (the “dell” between the ridges), from the south end at White Center to the north end at the West Seattle Bridge and the Alki and Duwamish Trails.

Assessing the needs and possibilities

WSBC did scouting rides, discussed issues and mapped routes. With Gordon’s help, we evaluated our possibilities for success and developed strategies. Gordon and Kelsey helped us gain access to SDOT staff for meetings and rides. We reached verbal agreements in principle from SDOT staff to some key requests we made for Delridge, and for spot improvements to the alternate northbound greenway bike route that SDOT has proposed. Our next steps are to build community support, using our members who live on the corridor to make connections.

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Our challenges include: narrow roadway width along part of the corridor—two blocks with closely spaced driveways that would perforate a protected bike lane, the tendency of some to pit transit versus bikes, and potential removal of car parking on a few blocks.

We want to emphasize how biking can support the RapidRide’s less closely-spaced bus stops and the pedestrian safety improvements for crossing busy Delridge, especially at schools.

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Building community support

Now we are building relationships with community groups:

  • In April, four of our members did a helmet giveaway and fitting at Boren STEM K-8 school, using a Small Sparks grant that Joe and Marlowe Laubach got through the PTSA.
  • WSBC members who are school parents are planning Bike to School activities.
  • We are supporting an after-school bike club project at Puget Ridge Cohousing that Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association’s Willard Brown initiated.
  • We are talking with Willard Brown about other Safe Routes to Schools projects.
  • We moved our monthly meetings to Neighborhood House in High Point, more convenient to the Delridge corridor.

After we garner support from the variety of community groups, we will go to our Seattle City Council members and make our case to the public at large.

Up to the challenge

There is a lot more work to do. It will take concentrated effort to build support in time to have an impact on the RapidRide project. But we have members who are willing, and we are up to the challenge. We are grateful for the support and wise counsel that Seattle Neighborhood Greenways staff are giving us.

Interested in joining our efforts? Learn more at westseattlebikeconnections.org.

 

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Fixing Rainier Ave: Group Bike Ride Looks at a Contested Street

Story by Adrian Down, Rainier Valley Greenways.

For people biking in Rainier Valley, finding safe and direct routes can be a challenge. Answers to the question, “What’s the best way to get from Columbia City to downtown?” vary widely because right now, none of the options are great. Rainier Avenue might be the flattest and most direct route, but the current street design is unsafe for people on bikes. Safer routes over Beacon Hill or north to Judkins add both considerable mileage and elevation.

This challenge is at the heart of a current debate, as Seattle Department of Transportation redesigns Rainier Ave to create a new RapidRide bus line serving the Valley. This line will replace Metro’s current Route 7, a well-used route that is a vital connection for many people in the South End.

The future of Rainier Avenue: three options on the table

Seattle Department of Transportation’s proposal for Rainier Avenue improvements includes a few different options for bike routes running the length of Rainier Valley. The three proposed options include routes connecting sections of protected bike lanes along Rainier Ave with sections of greenways and other infrastructure off the main Rainier Ave corridor, in varying configurations. One of these proposed sections off Rainier connects from the Mount Baker light rail station (at Rainier Ave South and Martin Luther King Blvd) north to South Dearborn Street and the I-90 Trail.

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Putting the City’s solutions to the test

A group of nine Rainier Valley Greenways volunteers braved light afternoon rain and had a great time touring the three options for this section of the proposed bike route to provide on-the-ground feedback to SDOT. Our group consisted of multiple types of bikes and riders, including a cargo bike full of groceries, bikeshare bikes, and a family with a young child on a bike pulled by her parent—which gave us commentary from a spectrum of experiences. After riding the proposed routes going north from the light rail station towards South Dearborn Street and downtown, we compiled a list of observations and suggestions.

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Our ride and recommendations

  • The group ride started at Mount Baker Station at Rainier Avenue South and Martin Luther King Junior Way South. We found right away that improved crossings at Martin Luther King Junior Way South and Rainier Avenue are essential. This busy intersection is the gateway to a major transit hub (the Mount Baker light rail station) and requires preferential treatment for pedestrians and people on bikes trying to access the station. More sidewalk space for people waiting for the lights to change, curb cuts that face into crosswalks rather than into busy traffic lanes, and safe, intuitive infrastructure for bikes would be drastic improvements.
  • We rode north from Mount Baker Station on Martin Luther King Junior Way South, which currently has heavy, fast-moving car traffic and will require modification before it feels comfortable for people on bikes. We recommend fully protected bike lanes on this stretch of busy road.
  • The first challenge for this proposed route is a left turn from Martin Luther King Junior Way South to get people on bikes onto back roads and eventually across Rainier Avenue. Of the two proposed route options, the South Bayview Street crossing of Rainier Avenue, seemed superior to crossing at South Plum Street, where we observed traffic backing up and blocking the intersections where South Plum Street crosses both 23rd Avenue South and Rainier Avenue. A protected intersection at South Bayview Street and Martin Luther King Junior Way South will be essential to help people on bikes make a left turn from MLK Jr Way across multiple lanes of traffic. This intersection will require crossing lights, markings, and traffic calming to be safe and comfortable for people to cross.
  • South Bayview Street is a relatively quiet road, but its wide street design encourages high car speeds. A safer experience requires either protected bike lanes on both sides or a woonerf design that would both discourage cut-throughs and slow car drivers enough that the mixing of high bike traffic and infrequent cars is reasonable. While this route will need safety upgrades, our group was pleasantly surprised by the relatively flat terrain of the back roads that we toured in this area.
  • Our group continued west along South Bayview Street and crossed Rainier Avenue. This intersection is critical.
    We recommend a full traffic light that provides plenty of time for a large group of people walking and biking to cross. Additionally, pedestrian improvements such as building curb cuts that face into the crosswalks, rather than diagonally into traffic lanes as they do now, and narrowing the entrance from South Bayview Street onto Rainier Avenue. We also suggest closing South Bayview Street on the West side of Rainier Avenue to cars. This would not restrict the access of vehicles to any businesses serviced by that intersection and would create a much safer route for people on bikes to travel and wait at the intersection.

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  • The route winds along side streets to the west of Rainier Avenue that are relatively quiet with low traffic volumes. However, they are wide industrial streets with several potential dangers. The current road design with wide lanes, sloping, gravel shoulders, and wide turning radiuses at intersections encourages cars and trucks to speed. The roads are scattered with gravel and industrial-area detritus, and multiple driveways and parking lots create conflict points. And the route is windy and confusing, directing people on bikes and on foot through an area that isn’t intuitive. We suggest that this whole route be treated as a mixed-use path. Intersections should include diverters or reduced widths and curve radiuses. It would be possible to keep routes accessible for trucks and other large vehicles by building low curbs that can be driven over. We would like to see sites with multiple entrances reduced as much as possible, and clearly defined where they are required. The route also needs ample signage and street markings to make wayfinding effortless, and clearly mark the road as a mixed use right of way. The lack of traffic is a plus of this route, and it could feel safe given these improvements. Finally, the entrance from this route to the I-90 trail has misaligned bollards and curb ramps. A wider, more accessible entrance would accommodate people on bikes, particularly those with cargo bikes, long frames, and trailers, and people in wheelchairs.

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The value of community-based scouting rides

SDOT’s proposed routes present plenty of design challenges, but we hope that by providing detailed input, we can help to make the final product as usable and comfortable as possible for all people on bikes and on foot.

Group rides touring proposed routes are a fantastic way for neighbors to provide valuable, impactful feedback to SDOT and other planners. Being on the ground in these spaces, looking at intersections from a bicyclist or pedestrian viewpoint provides a user experience that is incredibly important to the success of the final project. Our group shared valuable local knowledge and feedback, built neighborhood connections and community, and had a great time.

Thank you to all of our Rainier Valley Greenways volunteers for joining us and contributing their voices and viewpoints to this project.

 

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How the Community Package was Won

EDITORS NOTE: You probably have heard that we won $83 million for walking, biking, parks, and affordable housing paid for by the Washington State Convention Center expansion project, but have you heard the full story? Let Central Seattle Greenways co-leader Brie Gyncild tell you the inside story of how it all came together.

 

Story by Brie Gyncild, Central Seattle Greenways.

What’s an alley worth? Or the area underneath a city street? When a developer asks to assume public property for private development, it’s called a street or alley “vacation” and they have to provide a commensurate public benefit. The Washington State Convention Center required alley and underground street vacations to make their project work and therefore they needed to provide public benefits.

Use of public resources—what do we, the public, get back in exchange?

The proposed Washington State Convention Center Addition is a colossal undertaking, with a design that depends on the City vacating multiple alleys and the right of way under some major downtown streets. The $1.6 billion expansion is one of the largest developments in Seattle history and is to be built on publicly owned land, by a public entity, and using public funding.

Seizing the opportunity to shape the project’s public benefits, several community groups and nonprofits set about advocating—separately—to have their individual projects included in the public benefits package.

For our part, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways was focused on obtaining funding for protected bike lanes in the Pike/Pine corridor and on 8th Avenue, as well as pedestrian safety improvements on the I-5 overpasses on Pike Street, Pine Street, and Olive Way. Other organizations were advocating for improvements to Freeway Park, a Lid I-5 feasibility study, affordable housing, funding for the Terry Avenue woonerf, and other worthy projects.

Stronger together

But we recognized that we’d be stronger if we worked together to gain the investments the community needs most: public open spaces, safe routes for people walking and biking, and homes affordable to working families.

So, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways convened a coalition of transportation, parks, and affordable housing organizations to fight for a fair deal. The Community Package Coalition, as we call ourselves, is made up of our own neighborhood groups Central Seattle Greenways and the First Hill Improvement Association, as well as Capitol Hill Housing, Cascade Bicycle Club, the Freeway Park Association, the Housing Development Consortium, Lid I-5, and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

Community Package Coalition logos

 

Pooling our limited resources, we galvanized public support through months of public outreach, public tours of the convention center sites and the benefits included in the Community Package, meetings with City Council members, public comment at Seattle Design Commission meetings, and significant press coverage.

Thousands of hours of effort paid off when we successfully negotiated $61 million in public benefits with the developer of the Convention Center Addition. This investment, in addition to the $20 million already proposed by the Convention Center, is commensurate with the scale of the vacation petition and is comparable to other recent large, multi-block developments.

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An historic win: $83 million in public benefits!

We didn’t get everything we wanted; negotiations often require compromise. But the final public benefits package is four times the size of the developer’s original offer, and ultimately, the community will receive safer biking and walking infrastructure, affordable housing, and much-needed open space.

After we reached an agreement with Pine Street Group (the developer of the WSCC Addition), the City Council unanimously approved the vacation and proposed benefits on May 7, granting the Pine Street Group its necessary permits.

community package map of benefits

Going forward

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is proud to be part of the Community Package Coalition and its successful partnership with WSCC to realize a shared vision of building a well-connected, accessible, people-centered city with opportunity and benefits for all. This achievement demonstrates what is possible when community groups band together and work to reach a fair deal with developers.

While the Community Package Coalition has provided a great example of how community groups and developers can work together to create a powerful legacy, we recognize that this took a significant amount of effort and that not all communities may be able to replicate our efforts.That’s why we’re pleased that on May 21, City Council passed a resolution to update the city’s right-of-way vacation policies, making the process easier for communities that have fewer resources, and providing clarity for developers about the value of street and alley vacations and the types of public benefits that are needed.

Final thoughts

In the end, we not only won an amazing list of public benefits (see the map above) from the Washington State Convention Center, but also changed the system itself to be more accessible, equitable, and result in more fair deals for our public land.

My own personal take: Nothing like this has been done before, and the process required creativity, persistence, and trust that we could work together. Not only did we pave the way for future community benefits wins, but we developed strong relationships among the coalition partners along the way.

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Can-Do Neighbors “Daylight” Sidewalks, Show City How It’s Done

Photos and story by Greenwood-Phinney Greenways

In celebration of Earth Day, Greenwood-Phinney Greenways and Licton-Haller Greenways held a lively and well-attended community service event where neighbors were able to “reveal” and clear off a significant stretch of sidewalk along the west side of Greenwood Ave North, between North 120th Street and North 122nd Street, previously buried under gravel .

“Yes, the work was harder than we’d expected,” said Robin Randels, co-leader of the Greenwood-Phinney Greenways group. “We’d thought—shoveling compacted gravel? How tough could that be? Ha!”

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Making a key neighborhood street safer for all

The pay-off for their strenuous effort was palpable: “We saw several people walking or jogging along this stretch, as well as people waiting at the bus stop while we worked. Hopefully, our service will help make this stretch safer and more accessible for all. Additionally, we collected a large garbage bag full of trash, a bucket of recycling, and 3 syringes (disposed of in a proper sharps container).”

Check out these before-and-after photos of the daylighted sidewalk:

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Fixing a cluttered, impassable sidewalk may seem like a small victory, but it points to a much larger issue for many of the neighborhood streets in the Greenwood area: that is, the lack of safe and comfortable sidewalks for kids walking or biking to school, people walking to the bus stops, library patrons, and seniors on scooters or in chairs attempting to get home.

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Numerous hazards for neighbors on foot

Other common sidewalk impediments in the area include large scale, overgrown laurel hedges that block pedestrian right-of-way, apartment building parking, and other vehicle parking that are frequently encroaching on the would-be public walkway.

Local traffic in the area is fast and dangerously close to those walking along Greenwood Ave North.

”We had multiple lanes of traffic to cross during our weekend clean-up—and it was sad to see, there wasn’t a single car that stopped for us,” shared Randels. “But you know, it’s not all that surprising for those of us who live in the area. It’s just very oriented around cars and driving here—and not around people on foot or in wheelchairs.”

More attention and effort needed from the City

Safety enhancements for people who walk along Greenwood Ave N were envisioned in the Move Seattle Levy. While improvements have been made south of North 112th Street, and more are coming north of North 137th Street, this middle stretch between the two is glaringly lacking in even rudimentary sidewalk access—a condition that falls short of Seattle’s own Complete Streets policy.

The Greenwood-Phinney Greenways group, a member group of the Seattle Neighborhoods Greenway coalition, is hoping that the City will step in to “daylight” the existing sidewalks in this part of District 5, and that the overgrown vegetation is cleaned up to provide a temporary solution for pedestrians on this stretch of Greenwood Avenue.

Randels: “Unfortunately, this overgrowth and resulting obstruction are so vast that cutting it back is well beyond the capacity of our group (and likely that of the adjacent homeowners as well). It is a liability for the city and a hazard for our citizens who are forced to walk in the street as a result. At this point, the situation seems overly large and impractical to coordinate with the multiple homeowners along this stretch to get the job done in a timely fashion. Ideally, we need a City crew out there to get it cut back and hauled off just as soon as it can be arranged.”

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Safe and accessible walking routes: an ongoing issue for Greenwood and the City at large

The Greenwood-Phinney Greenways group is continuing to meet with city leaders to discuss ways to fund and implement more permanent improvements to provide safety and accessibility for all users on this important corridor.

A Seattle Neighborhood Greenways citywide priority is the conversation about how pedestrian projects are funded and constructed. The Greenwood-Phinney and Licton-Haller Greenways groups are working on making Greenwood Ave North an example for the city.

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Arena Redevelopment to Bring Walking and Biking Improvements to N. Downtown

Story by Andrew Koved, Queen Anne Greenways.

The KeyArena redevelopment project has the opportunity to transform the Uptown neighborhood—for better or for worse. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has been working hard to ensure that the Oakview Group, the developers hired for the project, will be building infrastructure and setting norms that will set the course for a world-class urban street system that can move people safely and efficiently to and from the arena, and connect to existing city-wide routes that will serve as key access corridors into and through Uptown, Belltown, South Lake Union, and beyond.

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Evaluating the impact on surrounding neighborhoods

The redevelopment of KeyArena has generated multiple studies, groups, and actions—with many questions focused on the impacts this project will have on surrounding neighborhoods.

When Oakview Development Group agreed with the City of Seattle to redevelop the arena for use for hockey and basketball, they funded a study to look at the mobility and transportation needs of the area. This resulting North Downtown Mobility Action Plan (NDMAP), looked at the redevelopment of the arena at Seattle Center, the rest of the Uptown neighborhood, as well as Belltown and South Lake Union neighborhoods.

Although not named explicitly in the process, Denny Triangle and parts of Lower Queen Anne were taken into consideration for the study as well due to their proximity. The goal of the study was to understand the current issues with pedestrian, bike, transit, freight, and public realm infrastructure in these areas, and then fund the implementation of priority projects from among the findings. Oakview Group will pay roughly $40 million over 20 years for these improvements; funding separate from mitigation costs which will be required through the environmental impact statement.

North Downtown is seeing truly rapid growth, and it is critical that people on foot and on bicycles have safe and connected routes into and through the city. Seattle Department of Transportation has taken a piecemeal approach that has led to a small number of wins—such as the increased ridership on the 2nd Avenue bike lane—but many more continued gaps. Oakview Group was interested in studying these areas and helping to identify those projects that hold massive potential.

Oakview Group brings neighborhood groups together, and faces some challenges

Oakview Group sought a local, on-the-ground, perspective to best understand the transportation issues plaguing these neighborhoods, and so they brought together a large and varied collection of neighborhood groups and citywide organizations. Since December, Oakview Group has held monthly meetings to bring together this broad coalition to work on the NDMAP and receive their feedback.

Queen Anne Greenways and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways were a part of these meetings, along with organizations such as Cascade Bicycle Club, Uptown Alliance, Seattle Center, Rise Up Belltown and Community Councils from Queen Anne and South Lake Union. The meetings combined the personal community knowledge with the expertise from Oakview Group, staff from City of Seattle including Seattle Department of Transportation and Council Member Sally Bagshaws’ office, and Nelson Nygaard, the firm conducting the NDMAP. The coalition faced challenges surrounding the diversity of interests represented at the table, with many groups not seeing the same concerns nor seeking the same solutions.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways leads discussion on public benefits

With a long list of issues facing pedestrians and cyclists in the North Downton, Belltown, and South Lake Union areas of the city, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways staff, along with Andrew Koved of Queen Anne Greenways, brought together a smaller number of community leaders to prioritize projects that maximize the Oakview Group investment and help complete a basic bicycle and pedestrian network through North Downtown. In collaboration with Cascade Bicycle Club, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways hosted an open house to get direct community feedback on the most important projects and goals for the NDMAP investment.

Turn-out to the event was high despite the drizzly March evening, with nearly 100 community members from the various impacted neighborhoods. With snacks and drinks in hand, neighbors pored over maps and marked their priorities for pedestrian and bicycle projects that would facilitate mobility and increase safety. A wonderful range of experiences and organizations were heard, and the outcome of the evening reflected this diversity. It was important to make sure that the pedestrian and bicycle group led by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways understood the pain points of Seattle’s infrastructure, and this evening was key to ensuring that the projects selected by Oakview Group reflected the needs of the community.

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SNG priority for improved mobility: connected corridors to and through North Downtown

Though the needs and recommendations from the open house were many, they focused around people’s ability to safely connect into and through the North Downtown area along key connected corridors. The SNG-led group distilled these ideas into a set list of priority projects and improvements, focused on key pieces of the network that would have the greatest number of impacted users.

Response to Oakview Group’s Draft EIS Statement

Oakview Group released their draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) in May, and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and Queen Anne Greenways participated in two opportunities to provide feedback and recommendations. The larger coalition of neighborhood groups participated in a second negotiating process and produced a strong letter endorsing a multimodal vision for the neighborhood and pushing the Oakview Group to work hard to decrease Arena attendees’ reliance on private vehicles.

Final Recommendations from SNG, Cascade Bicycle Club, and Feet First

Then, SNG also produced a more direct letter in collaboration with Cascade and Feet First that was more detailed in asking for specific routes and improvements for people walking and riding bikes.

The final list of recommendations includes: 

  • Street improvements surrounding Seattle Center including protected bike lanes on Roy St, 5th Avenue, Broad Street, Queen Anne Avenue, and 1st Avenue North, and pedestrian improvements on Valley Street and Olympic Place.
  • Wayfinding and other improvements on Harrison Street connecting Seattle Center to the John Coney Overpass for people walking and biking.
  • Connections east from Seattle Center that prioritize pedestrian and bicycle movement including signal re-timing and upgrading along Mercer and Denny, and the construction of a Thomas Street Neighborhood Greenway.
  • Connections to downtown routes including Bell Street and 4th Avenue.
  • Other recommendations including expanding bicycle parking, incorporating lighting and wayfinding, and partnering with bikeshare and rideshare companies to provide designated parking and pickup locations.

Exactly what projects will get funded is not yet known. Projects have a chance of being funded either by the limited NDMAP funding or the larger pot of mitigation funding from the Community Benefits Agreement that will result from the final environmental impact statement when it is released this summer. Then, all of these agreements must be approved by the Seattle City Council.

Although the final outcomes cannot yet be known, it does look as though many of the suggestions from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and from the larger neighborhood coalition will move forward.

To show your public support for this project, mark your calendar for the next Seattle City Council Select Committee for Arenas meeting on July 26 at 2:00 pm.

 

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Imagine a Pedestrianized Ave

Can you imagine “The Ave”(aka University Way Northeast) in the University District being open only to people walking or the occasional delivery trucks dropping off business supplies? The community can! This is just one exciting result of months of meetings, surveys, one-on-one outreach, and planning workshops.

Opening The Ave, as the proposed pedestrian-only zone is being referred towould create more space cafe seating in the street, open-air markets, community gatherings, for people to enjoy. Check out this early rendering of what that might look like:

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pedestrian only ave from above in colorThis transformational vision would make the The Ave Seattle’s second pedestrian-only small business street, the first being Occidental Ave in Pioneer Square.

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This bold proposal was arrived at by an extensive process of community and stakeholder engagement led by the U District Mobility Group.

The U District Mobility Group is comprised of a Working Group:

U dist mobility working group

 

With support and direction from a Strategy Group:

u district mobility strategy group

 

U District Mobility group has hosted 19 outreach meetings, 3 community workshops, an outreach table at the University District Streetfair, online surveys, and numerous one-on-one conversations. In the end, people preferred the option with a pedestrian-only Ave three times more than any other option!

meeting #3 photo of drew facilitating

Drew Dresman from University Greenways and Seattle Children’s Hospital leading a table discussion of the options.

This process has been community-led, and will require support from people like you to help it come to fruition. Want to help make this a reality?

  • Take the survey (the third survey should be coming out on Tuesday, June 12th).
  • Volunteer with University Greenways.
  • Donate to support Seattle Neighborhood Greenway’s advocacy.

 

Seattle’s First People-Protected Bike Lane

Everyone who wants to bike should be able to because biking can make us happier, keep us healthier, save us money, and reduce climate pollution. That’s why we’re advocating to build a connected network of safe and comfortable streets for people biking.

At 8:00am on the morning of Bike Everywhere Day, we took this message to the street by forming Seattle’s first people-protected bike lane in front of City Hall on 4th Avenue. The hugely successful free speech action and the rally that followed demonstrated the joy and safety that protected bike lanes can bring to our streets.

Standing side by side, we created a colorful human barrier between people riding bicycles and car traffic. Five group rides from around the city (Beacon Hill, Columbia City, Fremont, Ravenna, and West Seattle) joined people on their regular commuting route and converged at the people-protected bike lane amidst a positive fanfare of cheering, high fives, and waving streamers.

ride and rally waving

Click here to watch a cool hyperlapse video of the lane

Across the street afterwards, the Rally for the Basic Bike Network featured a slate of powerful female speakers including Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who spoke to the crowd about the need to build the basic bike network:
sally bagshaw speaking (image from her office)
Clara Cantor, Community Organizer for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, rallied the crowd chanting “Build it Now!”

Clara at 2018 ride and rally

The mood turned more somber when Clara asked the crowd to “raise your hand if you have been involved in a crash or close call in the last month” and every hand in the audience went up, including Councilmember Rob Johnson’s.

ride and rally 2018 people who have been invovled in crash or near miss in past monthWe know that safety is a major barrier — sixty percent of the population in Seattle wants to bike more, and dangerous streets is the number one reason they choose not to. But the Basic Bike Network, which would build safe and comfortable bike connections to get people where they need to go in and around the center city, has been delayed again and again — see this story for background information.

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The proposed Basic Bike Network

We also know that when you build connected bike routes, people will come in droves. Around the world, cities like Vancouver, Calgary, New York and London have all implemented connected bike networks, and have seen ridership explode. Even here in Seattle, bike ridership jumped 30% on 2nd Ave when the protected bike lanes there were connected to an incomplete route on Pike and Pine. Every connection matters and makes the network more useful.

In fact, the City of Seattle expects that ridership will double with the completion of the Basic Bike network. That’s why we’re asking the City of Seattle to #BuildItNow!

And as a people-powered movement we can’t win these improvements without you.

ppbl shot (ben hughey) thank youA big high five to everyone who showed up and took part in the people protected bike lane or the ride and rally today, and to all the volunteers who helped us make signs, carry supplies in their cargo bikes, spread the word, or otherwise supported us to make this event a success.

Here are four ways to keep the momentum going: 

  1. Email your elected leaders letting them know we need to build to the Basic Bike Network!
  2. Become a monthly donor.Your gift allows us to fight for safe places to bike for people of all ages and abilities.
  3. Share a photo of yourself along with a quote about why a basic bike network is important to you. Check out our inspiring album on Facebook and share your own story with tags #basicbikenetwork, #wecantwait, and #seattlegreenways.
  4. Ride your bike & bring a friend! There is safety in numbers – research has shown the more people who ride their bikes, the safer everyone is. May is a great time to encourage a friend, colleague, or family member to try biking in Seattle.

You are making a difference and together we will build a city that reflects our common needs and shared values by making every neighborhood a great place to walk, bike, and live.

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New Bike Parking Regs for the Win!

Images and story courtesy of Bicycle Security Advisors.

There can only be as many people biking as there are safe, convenient, and accessible places to lock-up their bikes at destinations. Every year, more people are biking in Seattle, and that means we need to support them with new, better standards that will help ensure this growth continues over the next decade.

Fortunately, on April 2, the Seattle City Council passed major improvements to the city’s bike parking requirements in new buildings. The improved standards will help ensure people will always have a safe, convenient, and accessible location to park their bicycle, whether it’s in a building or on the sidewalk for a short errand or trip.

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In addition to improving the bicycle parking requirements, the legislation, CB 119221, also updated many off-street parking requirements, aiming to reduce the city’s dependence on single-occupancy vehicles and to support transit-oriented development.  

In support of CB 119221, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways worked in a broad coalition alongside Bicycle Security Advisors, Cascade Bicycle Club, Capitol Hill Housing, Futurewise, Transportation Choices Coalition, Transit Riders Union, Sierra Club, and 350 Seattle to meet with councilmembers, send supportive email messages, and provide public comment at the city council hearings. This work built on bike parking advocacy in previous years such as the Rackathon event we co-hosted.

bike parking reform 2018The new legislation brings Seattle’s bicycle parking requirements closer in line with the other major Pacific Northwest cities of Portland and Vancouver, B.C., as well as other peer cities across the nation.

A centerpiece criteria for determining how much bike parking would be required was the City of Seattle’s performance target to quadruple bicycle ridership by 2030, the equivalent of one-in-eight trips being by bike. Here are a few of the key highlights:

  • Increases the amount of required bicycle parking. In comparison to eight peer cities, Seattle now has the highest requirements for long-term parking for 13 “land use categories,” and the highest requirements for short-term parking for 8 land use categories.
  • Requires office buildings with more than 100,000 square-feet to provide commuter showers for different genders, and exempts the shower facilities from a new building’s size limits.
  • Improves the incentive policy for bicycle parking by allowing developers to trade 1 car stall for two bicycle parking spaces, and increased the cap on this provision to now allow up to 20 percent of the required car parking to be removed.
  • Requires bike parking to be accessible without the use of stairs.
  • Requires bike rooms to accommodate family, cargo, and electric bikes.
  • Requires more temporary bike parking, aka “bike valet” parking, for major events such as Sounders games.

bike valetMore work still needs to be done.  Many of the code’s new provisions, such as definitions of “safe” and “convenient,” and the new bike valet allowance, will need to be implemented through new guidelines to be adopted by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

The parking reform legislation was stewarded by Councilmember Rob Johnson, chair of the Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee, and his staff. In addition, Councilmember Mike O’Brien, vice-chair of the PLUZ Committee, also worked tirelessly with bicycle, transit, housing, and environmental stakeholders in helping to shape the final legislation.

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*This post is a modification of a blog post by Bicycle Security Advisors. Follow Bicycle Security Advisors on Twitter.

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